Lesego and Danny
It is so exciting to be back with a group of young missionaries who I taught almost a month ago. There were a lot of smiles around the room and warm greetings. The YFC camp is out in the hills Southwest of Johannesburg near Magaliesburg. The setting is beautiful and serene.
We shared about our names given at our birth. We also talked about where they were born and some remembrances from childhood. The smiles on their faces showed the joy of those memories. Many had names that were passed down from family members or famous ministers like Ignacious, Wesley and Spurgeon. At times I struggled to understand the African names such as MSO, Mano, Lesego and Tshepo. Even spelling it didn’t help me at times. But my heart sank when one young man shared his name. His first name was a typical struggle for me as a white American. Then he said; I hate my middle name because it was required by white men. It is Albert. We were not allowed to use an African name as a middle name because the whites wanted us to have a name they could pronounce. I never like to speak my middle name and I will have it changed when I am old enough to do so. You could see the pain in his heart.
I wanted to reach out and heal the pain he felt. I also made it a point to learn his African name.
We were talking about God naming every star. We were also talking about remembering names of young people that we will minister too. It is important to show you value others by calling their name. I had to admit that I would need their help to remember their African names.
Nyaki said; it will be easy for me to remember you Uncle Danny. When you preach and teach you really touch the heart and not just the mind. It will be easy for me to remember you because you’re in my heart always.
That is the way I feel about these young missionaries. I will remember then because they have found a place in my heart.
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Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.